Synopsis:  Khalid Ben-Hassin is visiting Gotham University while his father participates on panel on archaeology.  Khalid speaks wit his friend Ronnie back in Michigan assuring him that he is making the choices that he wants.  However, Khalid addresses the fact that he knows that his father does not want to return to Michigan due to the recent death of his mother one and a half years ago.  Upon experiencing a vision of a pool of blood, blood moon and then darkness Khalid asks his friend to wear the charm that his mother gave several years prior.  At the same time a young woman collapses in Khalid’s arm while delivering a cryptic message before falling unconscious, appearing to have suffered from an ailment of some kind


“How’s Gotham?  Have you seen Batman yet?”   There was a snicker on the other side of the phone as Khalid looked it over with a slight roll of his eyes.

“Not here for any of that.   I’m  sure with everything that he does around Gotham he’s got hours to spare hanging out at Gotham U.”   With a snort Khalid continued walking towards the exit pushing the door open.”

“Remember archaeology seminar.   My dad’s sitting on a panel.   He thought I would like to go with him.  You know? Bonding. It’s been a while since we’ve been able to go anywhere. He’s been traveling a lot.”  He shrugged like his friend was there with him.   Pushing the door open he stepped outside.  “Actually, it’s been pretty interesting.  If we have the time, I might have dinner with my uncle.”

“Uncle?  What uncle?  You have an uncle that lives in Gotham City?”

Tipping his head from side to side he shrugged. “More like family friend.  I promised my mom that I would keep in touch, but you know school.  I’ve only seen him a few times and that was like when I was super little.”  More like he hadn’t seen him since he was baby.

“However, that all depends.  The Nighthawks are playing the Wolverines tonight remember?”  So, there was that.   “But I don’t know. It’s all in the air.  Even though I’m here I’m not here really.  Dad’s busy with a lot of things.  He’ll be headed to St. Roch after this and then overseas to give a few more lectures.”

Khalid shrugged standing on the edge of the quad.

“How long is he going to be on sabbatical,” It was a good question.  It was one that he had asked.

“Your guess is good as mine on that one. Technically he’s no longer on sabbatical.  He’s participating in a few lecture series, speaking on panels.  He’s talking about Oxford for possible a year. He was supposed to visit Kahndaq, but…”  That was put on hold.  “He said he was going to meet up with Dr. Sandsmark, but now that’s changed with the conflict.”  Could they call it a war now?  Less open conflict and just out and out war.

“So, he’s pretty much avoiding coming back to Michigan.”   Like the plague.

“Yeah.  He’s got tenure at U of M, but it’s not the same.”

Khalid did not know if it would ever be the same, so he made an effort when his father invited him places.  Gotham of all places, but at least it was somewhere.

“It’s been a year and half. He has to tell you something.  He can’t put that all on you.”

“He’s not putting anything on me.   He’s just not really to come back.  Everywhere he looks he sees her.   Everywhere he goes all he can think about are the memories.  He feels haunted.  He feels guilty.” That’s what it felt like to Khalid.  He didn’t know how else to explain it.

“I’m not going to pressure him to do something he’s not ready to do.  He’s working. He’s trying to get through it.  We talk. If he’s not ready to come home then he’s not ready to come home.  It’s better than what it was before.”  Taking a few steps out into the quad Khalid walked over towards one of the benches to take a seat.

“You got me there. I remember that.  It was…tough.”

Tough was putting it mildly Khalid thought.   Seeing his father like that was difficult.

“Yeah it was and before you ask, he’s there.  He’s present.  He knows I miss her too.   Don’t worry.   Last thing I want is for you to start worrying about me.  I have enough to focus on.  There’s the house.  There’s my mom’s shop.  I have to make a decision about what I want to do with it. People are still coming in even though know she’s not there.”

He told himself that he was going to make a choice about what to do with the shop. His mother left it to him and his father signed over the house.  They were his to do with what he wanted. Whatever decision Khalid made his father said he would support him.

“Still.  There’s only so much you can do there. I know you…”

Khalid couldn’t help it.  He knew what Ronnie was going to say.

“You know what?  That I’m not as good as my mom was?  She taught me a lot.  I watched here, but yeah I have a lot more to learn and I’ve been doing what I can.” Nothing wrong with the work he was doing there.  He kept up with his studies.  All and all he was doing pretty good considering.

“I took a year off so I have to play catch up, but like my mom used to say I was already ahead.”  Shrugging again he glanced up at the groups of Gotham U students that passed him by.

“True, but is it the life that you want?  Don’t you want to get out of the state?  See the world?  And please Gotham doesn’t count as the world.”

That drew a chuckle from Khalid.

“I can still see the world even if I decide to keep the shop.  I’m not stuck.  Trust me.  Anything but that. I have options.  Options are good, but I’m not in a panic either.”   Reaching into his pocket he looked at the card that his father had given him.  It was a business card, blank on one side and on the other was a hand written address.

Drawing a deep breath Khalid tucked the card away smiling.  “I should let you go.  You got things to do.  You always got things to do, and I have to see if we’re going to see this game or try to check in with my uncle.”  Mystery of mysteries there.

“If you talk with the uncle tell me how that goes.  I’m curious about this.  What’s his name any way?”

“Alan.  Alan Scott.”  Khalid still didn’t know how he felt about that.  Why was it important to meet someone that hasn’t seen him since him since he was a baby. He wondered if he had been there at his mother’s funeral.   Possibly.  If so why weren’t they reacquainted then?  Actually, Khalid had a good idea why they weren’t reacquainted.

“And you’re back when?”

There was a bit of a chortle. “Clocking my time now?”  With a bit of a snort Khalid leaned back against the bench.  “Two to three days.  My dad’s going to be flying out of Metropolis.   So, I might head out there with him and then catch a flight or train back to Detroit. I haven’t decided yet. Either way I promise not to get lost on my way back.”  He knew his friend was worried, worried that he was taking on far too much, but Khalid knew better.  Death, it wasn’t the first time that death had visited itself upon his family.

“Alright time to end the call.”   He shot up from his seated position colliding with a passerby knocking the water bottle from their hand.

“Shit. Sorry.”  He took a step forward to make sure they didn’t fall, but the bottle of water hit the ground, bouncing twice before rolling across the pathway the contents spilling from out. It was a quick glance at first, but the second was drawn out as Khalid watched the water spread across the ground. As quickly as the water spread slowly it quickly overcome red liquid that seemed to over take the water until it filled every part of the puddle that it had made.

“Sorry.”  He smiled to the stranger pulling his phone back to his face.  “Um..” He wet his lips.

“Ronnie. You know the pendant that my mom made for you a couple years back?”

There was a bit of a pause.


“Wear it for the next couple of days for me?”  He knew that was going to sound weird.

There were a few seconds of silence.

“Does this mean we’re going steady, Khalid?”  He could hear the humor in Ronnie’s voice.

“Shut up and  humor me, asshat.  Wear it for a few days. Okay.”

“Right. Right.  You ok?”

Khalid looked in the water the which shifted a bit the red liquid pulling itself towards one corner of the water into a single circular shape that appeared to be trapped within in, reflected perhaps.

“Yeah. I’m fine.”

Ending his call Khalid slipped the phone away before he watched the image in the puddle of water move from red to black until it consumed the entire pool of liquid.  Shutting his eyes he told himself not to become consumed with the images, but it was the sound of the other’s staggered breathing that pulled him from his thoughts. Turning towards the person he knocked into he thought they might be upset with him, but far from the case.

“Are you..”  He asked looking into her eyes which seemed to glaze over the moment they did she collapsed. If not for him reaching out for her she would have hit the ground.

Reaching for her forehead she felt cold, despite the fact her forehead was covered in sweat.

“SOMEBODY!”  Khalid called out.  “SOMEBODY HELP!”

Reaching out to touch the woman’s forehead he pressed the heel of his hand towards her forward head.

He began to speak when he felt the woman’s hand at his wrist.

“Child of the House of Masir.  Do not involve yourself in things you are not ready for.”  The woman said in a voice that was far from her own.   There was a deep gasp before she collapsed falling unconscious.

Takes places after the events that occurred during:  Black Gold: The Demon and the Mystic

Synopsis:  Khalid muses on how to move forward.  Perhaps it’s time to set aside caution.


“Child of the House of Masir.  Do not involve yourself in things you are not ready for.”

The voice echoed within the sides of his head before he watched the woman’s eyes roll into the back of her head, her body limp in his grip. It almost felt lifeless, yet she was alive. Staring down at his hands Khalid could still feel the weight of the woman’s body, a phantom weight of sorts.

Ma’am?  Ma’am?”

His voice sounded as far away as the moment was.  The incident occurred  less than a day ago, and it had  remained with him. As he had told his mother when they spoke, the vision was incomplete.

He knew that he would speaking with his mother soon enough.  He needed confirmation yet he did not.  There were forces at work here within Gotham, yet he didn’t know how far it extended.  Was it a case of the Traveler being unable to see completely or was Gotham the only place his gaze could not pierce?

What if there were other areas?  To attempt in invocation would be foolish.  It would tip Khalid’s hands, so he decided to work through other means.  Of course, he knew that the method he employed came with its own set of consequences if events did not work in his favor.

Do not involve himself in things he is not ready for?  Is anyone ever ready?  His presence in Gotham was a coincidence.  His mother was worried, because she knew all to well the dangers that Gotham held yet visiting the city was inevitable. This was something that could not be avoided, not if Khalid was going to honor the ones that came before him, still he knew there were those that he could reach out to, but to involve them meant to ask and answer a series of questions that would probably result in Khalid reminding himself that his is one of many realms.

One that is often overlooked for one reason and often avoided for others. House of Masir.  The message that he had been given was specific one that was troubling. One that he also thought not to share with is mother. He did not want her to worry.  She had made the choice she made, and he would not involve her in matters of the physical realm.

It was one thing to ask questions it was another to ask for direct intervention.  That came at to high a price for all involved. Though the message was specific it was lacking. That worked in his favor so he would have to restrain himself.  He would have to temper his actions and his thoughts. He was skilled enough.  His grandmother and other teachers saw to that.

He was capable, but how capable did he want to be. To shine a light on what was happening meant to open himself up to things sooner than he anticipated.  This was Gotham, whatever it was could stay here, but if he involved himself it could follow him home.  It could put the people in his orbit in danger.

Still he couldn’t shake the feeling that this was just the beginning of what was to come?

Looking out the window from his bed he looked upon the moonless sky.

”I was gifted with a vision.”

He and his mother both knew that he did not have visions. They did not come to him randomly, not out of the blue. To be given or gifted with a vision meant that someone meant for him to see it and the moment they did it had been intercepted. Perhaps…

“No absolutely not.”  Shaking his head, he knew was foolish to consider even broaching the subject. So many possibilities, but the cost.  There it was again.  To do an end run meant that he would have the pay the piper and Khalid wasn’t sure if this was worth any such payment.   He was being cautious, perhaps too cautious, but with good reason he thought.  The thought that entered his mind was far from random, but it had its drawbacks, too many at this time.  There were too many uncertainties, but he would keep it in the back of his mind.

Perhaps that was the other problem.  Far too many thoughts for his mind to contain.  A swirl of galaxies all with as many stars as there are cells in the human body. Far too many to count, all threatening to spill across the great vastness of space.

Still it seems someone had fixed their eye upon him and sought him out.  Was he to ignore this message or act upon it?  He was pretty certain that whoever issued the warning was keeping tabs upon him now waiting to see what he would do. Probably curious what he had done afterwards.  No action had been taken by Khalid, but what did he do in the building?  Who could he have reached out to?

Burning questions, but nothing came of it, because the child of the House of Masir had taken no direction action that could be perceived. Still his actions will have ripples no matter how discreet the messenger which is why he did not set his mother upon a more direct path.  Instead he inquired about the Traveler’s current abilities.

Nothing’s wrong with that right?  He felt in the pit of his stomach he already knew the answer, but he needed confirmation.

“A convergence of events?  Planned?”  He didn’t know.  It is possible. Drawing in a deep breath he opened he shut his eyes reminding himself that he would have to return soon. Not to Detroit, but to other commitments. They could not be ignored.  There were more tomes to consult.  There never seemed to be enough hours in the day.